Published on March 6th, 2013 | by Mark Chesnut
LF Awards: Best Hotels in Panama City, Panama
Recently, I put together an expert panel and moderated the process for Latin Trade Magazine’s annual Best of Travel awards. The issue highlights top choices for airlines, hotels, rental car companies and airports throughout Latin America.
Now, it’s time for LatinFlyer.com to present its own very detailed choices for the best hotels in Panama City, as part of the LF Awards. Based on multiple visits to Central America’s fastest-growing city, this handy, very personal and opinionated guide can help you pick out the best hotel, based on your own taste and priorities. Click on each winner to find an even more detailed review.
Best Value: The TRYP by Wyndham Panama Centro, which opened in 2012 in the popular El Cangrejo district, offers the best overall combination of price, amenities and location that I’ve found in my visits to more than a dozen Panama City hotels. Free WiFi, free hot breakfast buffet, a value-priced happy hour and lunch and dinner menu, and a rooftop pool, gym and spa — all in a brand-new building in the heart of one of Panama City’s best neighborhoods, with rates starting under $100 a night for a double room.
Best Swimming Pool: The Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower has a postcard-perfect rooftop pool complex on its 13th floor, with five separate pools including two infinity pools that are ideal for lounging and gazing at the Pacific waters stretching out front of you. The adjacent bar serves a variety of refreshments and food, at reasonable prices.
Coolest Overall Style: Part of Starwood Hotels and owned by Bern Hotels & Resorts, Le Meriden Panama exudes sleek, contemporary style, with a cool black granite lobby, dramatic lighting and artwork. The hotel participates in the EXPLORE LM100 program, which allows creative individuals to curate the decoration of the property.
Best View: The soaring Miramar InterContinental, which sits on a prime spot on the waterfront, enjoys the absolute best views of the bay as well as the Cinta Costera waterfront boulevard. Reserve a room on the club floor and you’ll enjoy access to a rooftop swimming pool that has especially photo-worthy vistas.
Best Suites: Check into a one-bedroom suite at the new tower at the Bristol Panama, and it will be easy to fool yourself into thinking that you’ve moved permanently into your own luxury apartment. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, the Bristol Panama is one of the most upscale yet comfortable properties in the city.
Best Beach: Panama City itself doesn’t have a beach, but the most convenient option lies just across Las Americas bridge: The Westin Playa Bonita, which opened in early 2012, and the adjacent InterContinental Playa Bonita, together offer an array of beachfront indulgences, including multiple restaurants, swimming pools and spa facilities.
Still to watch: New hotels on the horizon in Panama City include a Hilton, Waldorf Astoria and another Westin — and the new Grand Sonesta is already up and running. Stay tuned to LatinFlyer.com for more hotel reviews.